Episode # 80 – How do we handle criticisms in life with “Detachment” of mind?

Little Krishna

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a detailed accord on what is “detachment” and how do we exercise detachment in today’s scenario. As we invoked Bhagawan Krishna’s narrative to this point, we saw that His main focus is on the actions and not on the results or fruits of the actions. It should be remembered here that “being detached” doesn’t mean shunning our duties of life – Be it personal or professional, or even spiritual for that matter. It is mandatory that we perform all our duties with 100% effort in all spheres of our life. However, what is important here is that, while performing our actions, our expectations from those actions should be zero or atleast bare minimal. This would help us in many ways.

Today, we shall witness an important extension of this point as to how do “detachment” benefit us and in what ways. So, when we say that we’ve to be “detached” and we should be devoid of expectations from our actions, we might immediately ask a counter question here – If we’re performing actions like this, without any expectations, then how do we plan the outcomes of our actions and how do we correct our actions if there are any mistakes or some criticism? Won’t this mean that we’re completely going directionless, if we’re not having a specific goal to achieve? How can this be possible especially in today’s world wherein we believe in the idea of generating specific outcomes for whatever tasks we do? Of course, these are very valid questions, but this requires a small clarification here – What we’re talking about here is not about the “specific outcomes” that we’re working towards. We’re talking about the resultant of those “specific outcomes” that we’re working towards – Whether we’re going to achieve them or not. Of course, all of us should have specific goals and targets to work on, and “detachment” doesn’t mean that we’re going to work without any of these. The point here is that, although we have a specific target or goal in mind, we shouldn’t be obsessed with just the positive outcome and result. We should be prepared to face even the negative result that might arise from our actions. Our mind should be open to accept criticism too. When can our mind accept criticism? It would only be possible if we’re keeping our mind open and not being obsessive about success. Only if our mind is open, will we be able to receive constructive feedbacks and criticisms, upon which we can work on further to improve ourselves. This phenomenon of having an open mind while performing our actions in itself is “detachment”.

As we deliberate more on this aspect, we need to extend a little bit into “criticisms”. Basically there are two types of criticisms – Positive or Constructive & Negative or Destructive. Those critical comments that are made by people who are really interested in our development, come under the “Constructive criticism” category. Of course, those comments that come in a sarcastic and a demotivating way from people, just because they do not like us to grow further, fall under the category of “Destructive criticism”. Now the question here is, how do we differentiate between these two categories of criticisms? In simpler words, how do we handle criticism effectively as a leader?

In order to differentiate between the Constructive & Destructive criticisms, we need to first have a balanced frame of mind. This is required, we need to construe and analyze each comment and deliberate within ourselves whether this comment is good or bad for us. A robust deliberation can happen only if we have a neutral approach towards the problem and the comment. If we’ve to have this neutral approach, our mind should be detached and should not take sides! Rather, if we’re having a biased mindset while listening to comments and feedbacks from people, our ego would come in the middle of constructive feedbacks, and this fuels a huge threat that we’re missing out on real areas of improvement! Hence, it is always advisable that we have an open mind towards approaching criticism, and if we’re able to do this, it becomes easy for us to differentiate between the good and bad ones.

So for today, let us ponder over this important point and let us take a step forward to work towards detachment of our mind. We shall wait till the next episode to move ahead with Sage Kapilaachaarya’s next piece of advice to his mother, Devahooti. Stay tuned! 🙂















Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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